Federation Report: PJ Library is making a difference

By Ruth Middlebrook, PJ Library Parent Committee

As a PJ Library Parent Committee member, I’m pleased to provide you with an overview and update on the program, and also share my personal experiences.

PJ Library Ottawa, a core on-ramp of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Superhighway, offers local Jewish families so much. It brings Jewish education into homes via a monthly delivery of books, streaming of music through PJ Library Radio, and holds activities that bring families together with the Jewish community.

In March, we will be holding our first-ever welcome event for new PJ Library families. In June, we will be holding PJ Library in the Park. It’ll be a morning filled with fun, games, and kosher treats.

These events build on the successful programs hosted last year. In the fall, we partnered with Beit Tikvah for Sukkot. PJ Library families met in the congregation’s sukkah for story time, crafts and blessing recital while holding the lulav and etrog. We followed this event with PJ Library Parent’s Night Out where parents got to make pizza with Dashing Pinch caterers at Kehillat Beth Israel. Most recently, we partnered with the Soloway Jewish Community Centre for a Chanukah Party where we enjoyed entertainment from Junkyard Symphony, made menorah crafts, and ate sufganiyot and latkes.

These events are helping to build a strong, inclusive and thriving community for young families. PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families. Whatever your background, knowledge, family make-up or observance of Jewish faith, everyone is welcome to participate! I know that for my family this is significant. We’re interfaith, and we feel so welcome.

Federation’s PJ Library makes a real difference in our lives and in the lives of many families in our community. It teaches our children Jewish values, Hebrew vocabulary, about Jewish holidays and blessings. Our children are also encouraged to help others through the PJ Library Tzedakah Box and the PJ Library Kindness Card Game. PJ Library has helped bring my family into the Jewish community, created a home for us, a place where we can learn, meet friends, and give back.

Since 2011, PJ Library has provided Jewish books and music to more than 900 Ottawa children aged six months to eight years. This is made possible through the generous donations of local donors and the support of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

The goals of PJ Library Ottawa are to promote Jewish literacy and culture, encourage families to talk together about our values and traditions, and create opportunities for families to meet others and engage in local Jewish life.

We look forward to your family participating in PJ Library in 2019. Please join me and my fellow Parent Committee members at activities throughout the year – you’ll enjoy connecting with your Jewish community!